River of Lost Souls

Scott Abbot with a nice write-up of River of Lost Souls.


I just read Jonathan P. Thompson’s The River of Lost Souls (Torrey House Press, March 2018). The book unsettled me. Profoundly.


On August 5, 2015, EPA contractors who were investigating a portal of the Gold King Mine above Durango accidentally released an estimated 3 million gallons of acid drainage laden with heavy metals that had been backing up for decades in the abandoned mine. [Photos and timelines at the High Country News ]

I never knew that the name of the Animas River, one of the three rivers running through my hometown of Farmington, New Mexico, meant River of Souls. Still less did I know that someone later added the adjective “perdidas” to the name, making it the River of Lost Souls. Jonathan P. Thompson knew that, however, and now I know it too.

Nomen est omen.

I knew the Animas was deadly, having experienced that on a tubing trip…

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  1. […] Southwest Colorado is wracked by drought, and the Animas River, along with being sullied by ash and mud from debris flows from the 416 Fire scar, is running at near all-time low flows. So it seems like a good time to look back on the biggest flood on record to hit the region. This is an adapted and condensed excerpt from River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics, and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster.  […]


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